NEW YORK -- The Astros’ season-long rallying cry has been to “take it back,” and now the bubbly is on ice as they hope to pop corks in enemy territory and punch a ticket to their second World Series in three seasons when the Yankees host Game 5 of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on Friday night.
In a rematch of the pitching matchup from Game 2, Justin Verlander will be tasked with ensuring that there is plastic sheeting affixed to the lockers in the visiting clubhouse, while James Paxton’s assignment for the Bombers will be to stave off elimination and force the ALCS back to the confines of Minute Maid Park for a Game 6 on Saturday night.
The Yanks’ travel board indicated that their players are planning on boarding a flight to Houston after Friday’s game, though the next nine innings could instead bring on an earlier-than-preferred offseason.
When is the game and how can I watch it?
Game 5 will be on Friday at 7 p.m. ET on FS1.
All games telecast on TBS, FOX and FS1 will be available to MLB.TV subscribers who are authenticated subscribers to the applicable network through a participating pay TV provider.
What are the starting lineups?
Astros: Houston stuck with a similar lineup it used in its Game 4 win. This time, Carlos Correa bats ahead of Yordan Alvarez and Jake Marisnick gets the start in right field.
Yankees: With no margin for error, New York brought back Giancarlo Stanton at designated hitter in the cleanup spot in Game 5.
Who are the starting pitchers?
Astros: Verlander has a 3.12 ERA in three outings this postseason, including Game 2 of the ALCS in which he held the Yankees to two runs and five hits over 6 2/3 innings in a no-decision. He gave up four runs in Game 4 of the AL Division Series pitching on three days of rest.
Verlander's 14 career playoff wins rank tied for third all-time with Tom Glavine, trailing only John Smoltz (15) and Andy Pettitte (19), and he’s 12 strikeouts away from tying Smoltz for the most whiffs in playoff history, with 199.
Yankees: Paxton will be making his third career postseason start and second in the ALCS. The 30-year-old will be pitching on regular rest after completing just 2 1/3 innings in Game 2 at Houston, when he permitted one run and four hits while walking two and striking out three.
In his first season in pinstripes, Paxton set career highs in wins and starts, going 15-6 with a 3.82 ERA in 29 starts.
Yankees: Once again, it’s all hands on deck for the bullpen, as there is no tomorrow without a victory. Six relievers saw work behind Masahiro Tanaka in Game 4. Yanks relievers have thrown 32 2/3 innings this postseason, compared to 31 1/3 innings by the starters.
Are there any relievers who are unavailable?
Astros: Houston used five relievers in its Game 4 win, but none of them were stretched beyond 1 1/3 innings. All should be available. Osuna threw only 16 pitches to get the final four outs of the game. The only other reliever to throw more than 18 pitches in Game 4 was Josh James (24).
Any injuries of note?
Who is hot and who is not?
Astros: Altuve (.353) and Brantley (.353) are leading the offense in the ALCS with six hits apiece. Bregman is hitting .182 in the series with no RBIs. Springer and Correa hit three-run homers in the Game 4 win, but they have scuffled overall in the series. Springer is hitting .118 (2-for-17) in the ALCS, with both of his hits being homers, and Correa is hitting .176 (3-for-17), with two of his hits being homers.
Yankees: LeMahieu (.412) has been terrific at the plate in the ALCS, stroking seven hits in 17 at-bats, including a ground-rule double in Game 4. Hicks has one hit in six at-bats (.167), but he has shown a terrific eye, working four walks. Sánchez homered in Game 4, but he is still 3-for-25 (.120) this postseason, with 12 strikeouts. Encarnación is 1-for-15 (.067) in the ALCS.
Anything else fans might want to know?
Springer has homered in 12 of his 41 postseason games, and his 13 career postseason homers are an Astros record. … In Game 4, the 22-year-old Torres became the youngest Yankees player to hit cleanup in a postseason game, surpassing 23-year-old Joe DiMaggio (Game 1 of the 1938 World Series). … The Yanks’ four errors in Game 4 were their most in a postseason game since they committed a franchise-record five errors in Game 2 of the 1976 ALCS.